Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Meet the Teacher and "rocks"

Our first "Meet the Teacher" night was a success.

It was completely nostalgic for me.
All the memories came back in a flash - going to school "after hours",
walking to the class room,
and seeing your teacher (and the slight awkwardness of 2 different authority figures in your the same room).
I totally remember those days.

The report on Mr. O was great.
He's a very contentious and meticulous - (he gets that from his mother..tee-he wink).
He has the attention span to school work like his father (...moves through it quickly - or 'tires' easily...tee-he ..wink).
It's hilarious to see these qualities reveal themselves at such a young age.

Missy Z. quite enjoyed the classroom as well. Making friends where ever she goes - definitely not an overly shy child when faced with other kids - especially those with stuffed animals. She was chasing a boy (who's a student in the class) around the room because she wanted to go "awe" (which includes a snuggle and kisses) to the stuffed puppie. He was a bit freaked out - but eventually allowed her to touch the toy. She had a ball - and made her self at home in the class.

I think the last hilarious moment today was when Mr. O told me that his teacher had a house.
Can you remember those days when the realization that your teacher actually left the school - was an actual event?!
They actually had a home - and didn't live at the school...
....I'm pretty sure I was way past JK when that concept actually materialized in my mind.

Lastly I wanted to share a small project that was created for Missy Z. She loves sparkly things. Right out of the womb the girl gravitated to credit cards and diamonds. I'm pretty sure it's apart of her genetic blueprint. I can truthfully say - nothing was directed to her to 'like' these things, she found them all on her own.

Missy Z's grandma found a sewing notion that was a strip of 'faux diamonds'. Z. went nuts for it - giggled and smiled every time she saw it. So, with further ado - here is Z's first tennis bracelet:

small piece of elastic hand stitched to diamond strip

no worries - it's not tight - those are just adorable wrist rolls

...But don't be fooled by the rocks that she's got - she's still Zoomer from the block.

Eat your heart out J-Lo.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Fall Porch Decor - as promised

Over the weekend I thought I'd tackle my fall planter/porch decor.

I asked Mr. O - but all he said was "..hmm not sure mom... can I watch Ninja Turtles?"

It's a pretty tough decision. Maybe I should consult Donnie, Mikey, Raph and Leo?

With the TMNT's blessing I got down to work.

I have to walk past it every day, see it as I approach the house, and also catch a glimpse of it from inside....

That being said - I'm not at the point where I can or even want to spend a small fortune on this 'seasonal decor'.

All I know is that I wanted to create something that will transition into (deep breath)... winter.

1) I love my birch branches in the winter - I have done it for the past 3 winters, but still love them.

2) I also enjoy how hearty mums are (I tend to neglect living plants.. the varieties that can survive with out water for a bit is perfect fro me). I have also planted mums after, and to my surprise (see comment above) have enjoyed them yet again, for another season.

3) Burlap - totally screams fall and ..... winter

4) Pumpkins - gotta use them anyways! (hopefully they aren't liquid by Halloween)

5) Glitter balls and autumn pics - those are left over from season past


Thanks TMNT!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

PJ party and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Fall arrived just before 11am today.

I have no idea where the time goes.

Today (as promised) we had a PJ party. Mr. O was SO excited he could stay in his PJs all morning.... and requested wearing them while he ate lunch. So we did.

Gotta love those lazy mornings.

His only other request this morning was that we make cookies... while still wearing our PJs.

Chocolate Chip Cookies a la Anna Olson


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • egg
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • cups all purpose flour
  • teaspoons cornstarch
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks **We used mini chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cream together butter and sugars until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and blend in.
  3. Stir in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chunks.
  4. Drop by tablespoons onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.
For our 1st Anniversary I received the 'Sugar' cookbook by Anna Olson.
This is the most amazing cookbook for desserts. 
I would definitely recommend it!!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Mini Muffins

So we made it through the school week -

All except the 'hot beaver' day.

School pictures were taken, and Miss Z's 1st Birthday photo shoot was a success. Her birthday isn't for 2 weeks - but I thought I'd be prepared to hand out pictures for the birthday weekend.

Mr. O is quite excited to stay in his PJ's tomorrow. He wanted to stay in them today - "can I wear my balls today?" (his pj's are covered in sport balls - basket, tennis, baseball, volley balls)

Honestly where does this kid come up with these things?

I love that  he says exactly what he's thinking - no filter... but I'm sure in a few years that what I find 'cute' won't be so cute..... sigh.

For those who don't know we are amidst a 'Great Canadian Basement Reno'. {As it's been coined by our old neighbour who the building mastermind aka the 'old fart in the basement' (actual quote)}

Hubby is doing a great job and is loving all the teaching and correction advice along the way.

How can you not love power tools?
Or just the fact that you are the creator of such a structure?
Gotta love DIY.
The "Man Cave"

There is a timeline factor involved, and the reno may not be completed right away as I'm headed back to work very soon. Oh well we've lived in an on going reno before - it will be done... someday....

I wanted to share a recipe I found and made this past week called apple stuffin muffins. The whole family devoured them, so I know I'll have to double the recipe next time. I added a few extra ingredients to mine:

Apple and Carrot Stuffed Muffins

**makes 12 mini muffins or 6 regular muffins

3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbs vegan margarine (it's all I had - you can use butter though)
1/8 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup applesauce (I used 1 motts lunchsize apple sauce cup)
1 egg
1/8 tsp salt 
1/2 apple peeled and chopped very small
1/2 cup shredded carrot1/4 cup raisins

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl, set aside.
4. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the margarine on high for about 20 seconds; add sugar, applesauce, egg and salt to bowl. Mix well.
5. Pour the apple mixture over the flour mixture. Gently fold in the flour until mixed in, add carrots and raisins, make sure not to over mix.
6. Fill the muffin tins about half full with batter. Bake for 8-9 minutes for mini muffins. 
**Note: For 6 standard size muffins bake 15 minutes

Sunday, 16 September 2012

P.P's Quinoa Salad

P.P you make one mean quinoa salad.

From the first time she brought it to a family dinner - to the many requests for it - P.P's salad has been a hit. 

Finally I asked for the recipe and since then, have reproduced it many times. The whole family enjoys it - even the 3 year old and the 11 month old!

It's original name is "Quinoa Spring Salad" and here is the site it was found on. The original recipe is very delicious. 

I've modified it slightly to satisfy our tastes and to reflect common items that are found in our fridge and pantry.

Here's my interpretation - I think I'll name you Fresh Quinoa Salad,
*no sunflower seeds in this batch because it was being consumed by a child with gums of steel and 2 bottom teeth**

Fresh Quinoa Salad
1/2 cup frozen shelled soybeans (Edamame)
2 cups cooked* tri-coloured quinoa, cooled (I use 1 cup white, 1/2 cup red, and 1/2 cup black, but you can use one colour if you choose)
1 cup orange bell peppers, chopped 
4 green onions, thinly sliced 
1/2 an english cucumber, seeds removed, diced 
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted 
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped 
sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste 
Vinaigrette Dressing (see below)

*cook quinoa according to package - this can be done ahead - let it cool slightly
Cook edamame beans according to their package. Drain and/or let cool. In large bowl, combine edamame with remaining ingredients. Toss to mix well. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.
Approximately 5 to 6 servings.
Vinaigrette Dressing
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup (pure is best!)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Whisk all ingredients together - blend well. 

yum Yum YUM!

Friday, 14 September 2012

At home with a 'hot beaver'

Friday of the first week of school - and my big guy's at home with a a hot beaver... or better known as a high fever.

He's a pretty smart kid - and has discovered that if he's "not feeling well" he doesn't have to go to school. Which, by the way, he announced at breakfast this morning "Maybe next week I'll stay home because I won't be feeling good".

Oh really?! (insert internal chuckle)

Not a chance - said his father.

Honestly he's not even 4 yet - and he's figured out how to stay home from school.

Sigh -

He really does have a fever. It's downgraded to 101 from 103, and to be honest, I think the 'relaxed' day is good for him. All day every day kindergarten has been great - except that the 'staggered entry' they described is not really 'staggered'.

This first week was all week.
Last week was 1 1/2 days.
Not so much of a staggered entry to me...

Oh well...
Hot beavers aside - a 4 day week was enough.

Should you wake up one morning and not be feeling well - make sure to call in and say "I won't be in today - I'm in bed with a hot beaver."

...(I'll be marking that down for his wedding)

In other thoughts - here is something that I'd thought I'd share. This maybe something that is completely obvious to some - but to others - hopefully I've sparked an idea...

This is me preserving the life of a bouquet. They (meaning fresh cut flowers) are a rarity in this house, so the longer they're round the better. All I do is trim, discard wilted ones and transfer to a smaller vase. I do try to save the 'plant food' that they come with, so I can add some each time I change the water. For me the more hardier the flower the longer they last. Here is a "left over" arrangement.
Nothing like fresh flowers.....

and hot beavers.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Who doesn't like balls?

September 13th and the sun is shining.

Today I finished my morning cup of coffee...while it was still warm.... it's a great day.

Nap time was successful - I continued projects that had been on 'pause' and I was able to edit items (what my husband deems 'clutter') from the kitchen. All this before noon - Can you believe it?


The house still remains quiet(ish)... one child is at school the other is (now awake) ripping apart the grocery flyers that arrived this morning. I'm not sure how this is so funny, but she finds it hystarical. Gleeful bursts of noise fill the air as I'm typing this - but hey - she's entertained - and lets face it - the less sale flyers there are.. the better.

Today I wanted to share a project that I did at the beginning of the summer (before the blog actually became a reality). 

I am obsessed with balls.

(tee hee - wink)

Ok - more specifically, I'm obsessed with garden orbs, globes a.k.a balls. I love contemporary garden 'pretties' and porch decor. I especially like when the same one can be transformed depending on the season.
That being said - usually those items can be quite pricey.

Pintrest has been a great resource for DIY's. Thus generating my desire to create a DIY garden globe.

I know fall is literally around the corner but I'm still deciding on the 'fall look'. I'll update once I've decided - but here's my current porch decor.
DIY Grapevine Globe

Yes - the globe is a DIY - it honestly cost $1.00!!

Here's what I used:

2 - wire - hanging basket holders found at a local thrift store for $0.50 each.
Zip ties (I had a bag of small ones and maybe used 40?) -found in the garage
Vines - Grapevine that was overgrown on a colleague's farm - free - thank you SO much!

Here are the steps:

Attach both baskets with zip ties

You can trim the ties once they're all secure.

De-tangele the vines. I also separated thick and thin vines this stage.

Trim off the broken or split ends.

Start by wrapping the thicker vines around the globe first - creating a 'base' 
*patience is a great skill at this point - some vines may not cooperate

Secure the ends of a piece of vine by tucking them under the basket wires (a few times if needed).

**I used some of the zip ties to secure some of the 'disobedient' vines. I had to secure them in a few places so the globe would resemble a sphere - not an oval.

Start to see the 'globe' taking shape
**I did use about 4 thick vines that tapered on the end for the base** 

 I left an opening through the vines so that if I wanted to place a strand of mini lights inside I could.


 Now use the thinner vines to give texture and density to the globe.

**if you are leaving a hole for lights - make sure not to cover it up too much**

All Done! Time to Admire!

Hmm - now what to do for fall? 
To be continued...

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Friday Night Chilli - on Sunday

The first week in September has gone in a flash - and with the week, the warm weather seemed to follow.
I'm definitely enjoying the 'fall' weather and the need for long pants and socks... anyone else's pedi and leg hair looking - shall we say 'less than stellar'?

Scuffed up polish and thistle like lower extremities aside - Autumn is wonderful.

This time of year my favourite things are: driving though the country side, seeing the signs advertising fall fairs, orange leaves appearing on the trees and the 'crispness' in the air. All these things definitely get me in the mood for soups, stews, and chilli. Yummy.

Ask and ye shall receive - Chilli for dinner.

Not just any chilli, the chilli that Mark and I swooned over.

The chilli that our wonderful neighbour brought to us a few days after our daughter was born.

She was generous enough to pass along the recipe for us to enjoy over and over.

I'm not a chilli expert, nor do I claim to be a chilli connoisseur (if there's such a thing - probably) but this chilli has proven to be the go-to recipe for us.

Reason #1: the 4 of us like it.

Reason #2: does not make you crap like a goose or provide a symphony of 'sound and smell' for those within 3 feet of you (Mom - I do love your cooking, but WAY too many beans for me)

Reason #3: great consistency + flavour combo for dipping toast and crackers

With further ado here's the recipe:


  • 2 lg cans of diced tomatoes (28oz each)
  • 4 tablespoons catsup
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons white vinegar
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • 3 teaspoons Wortchester sauce
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 2 lbs ground beef (extra lean)
  • 1 cooking onion chopped
  • 2 can beans in tomato sauce (or one large one)

Brown beef then add onion and sauté for 5 minutes (or until onions soften).
Mix in all other ingredients and simmer (on medium) for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

**Should you enjoy beans and want to up the fibre - black beans and kidney beans are a great addition. I would say one can of each (rinsed).

 "Ryvita Sunflower seeds & Oats" rye crispbread are accompanying this.


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

"Do I get to come back?"

"Do I get to come back?"

You heard it right here folks - He'd like to return to Kindergarten!

As we were walking up the staircase to the school doors, O was hanging on pretty tight to my hand.  He was peering around me to sneak a peek at his new school.  He was nervous to go into the class to meet the teacher, so we all sat for a minute outside the door to look around and become acquainted with the surroundings. From his perch he could see our church windows - which he immediately said "I didn't know they were brown?!" (meaning the window casings) then Mommy added "isn't that a nice contrast to the brick? - and then Daddy pointed to the cross that was fastened to the wall above O's seat and said "look who's here"... O looked up, smiled and said "Jesus..... that's good". Then we entered the class room.

Along with his teacher a sea of toys, tiny hooks, cubbies, colours and letters filled the room. We chatted with his teacher - found out which bus he'd take (when the time comes) and finally had a look at all the toys.

Z and Daddy were ready to leave (as per Z's loud exclamations from the corridor) - so I told O we had to go. Then I heard it...

"Do I get to come back?"

You sure do big guy - you sure do.

1st day of Kindergarten

Monday, 3 September 2012

One more BIG sleep

One more BIG sleep -

Our son is headed to JK tomorrow - yes it's only a 15-20 minute "see the class room, meet the teacher" but it's a huge day. Last night my O was asking what my Kindergarten class was like. Through a foggy memory I was able to recollect painting, singing along to the teachers guitar, climbing the jungle gym at recess, and the most prominent memory - the smell of sandwiches and lunch meat. Yeah you know the smell - it always seems to accompany new a new plastic, fresh waxed floors and fresh off the press photocopy smell. Ah - the first day of school.

Thank-you to O's "Gaga" (aka Gramma) this is the book we are currently reading:

Here's a link to amazon

Pintrest inspired project #1

A few months ago I re-pinned a DIY project to do prior to the first day of school. See it here.  I have completed the project and it's ready for tomorrow. What it is - is a art canvas, painted with chalk board paint. Here's what I used:
Art Canvas, sponge applicators, chalk board paint

Here is the finished project :

I can't wait to show you this project in action in the "first day of school picture" ..... one more BIG sleep...

Sunday, 2 September 2012

End of an Era - so to speak

Well it's Labour Day Weekend and for us here in Ontario - that means the end of summer... or the End of an Era in our house. Our baby big guy is headed into JK. I can't even fathom how fast this day arrived.  It seemed like yesterday he was just a little guy with a tuft of hair and 2 bottom teeth. Now he's transformed into this adventurous, comical, and brilliant boy. He has no concept of what to expect - and that's probably a good thing. He knows there will be games and a sand table - but as for a regimented routine.. not a clue. This will be so good for him. Here in SW Ontario, this is the first year of "everyday all day Kindergarten". Owen is definitely ready, but I'm sure going to miss him (and so will baby sister!). I'm in my last month of Maternity/parental leave and feel blessed to have shared all this time with him. 

The End of an Era has come, but the starting of this blog and September 4th truly marks the beginning of a new one.